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Finding Your Management Style


"What are management styles? Are they important? What is my management style?"

These are all questions that might lurk at the back of your head when you read or hear the phrase “management style”.

This article explores some of the most popular traditional management styles. It also looks at ways in which your management style impacts your team and how you can find the right style for the way you work.


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How many management styles are available?


There are many different leadership and management styles. The ever-evolving nature of business culture is encouraging new styles to emerge all the time.

The most well-known are the traditional styles of:

  • Autocratic
  • Democratic
  • Laissez-Faire

Let's take a quick overview of these styles below.

Understanding the 3 best-known management styles


Autocratic Style - one voice

Autocratic

AKA Authoritarian


This style of management usually has a sole person or group of people with complete control over directions and decisions. It requires a very tightly-structured organisation and clearly-outlined roles.

When does it work well?


This kind of management works well when clear direction and quick decisions are needed.

The effectiveness of an autocratic approach largely depends on the nature of the manager or managers involved. There is a fine line between “autocratic” and “dictatorial”. If the person or people giving direction don’t have the motivational skills to bring everyone else on board with their vision, teams can get demotivated quickly.
Democratic Style - a conversation

Democratic

AKA Participative


As the name might suggest, a democratic style is a more collaborative approach to management. It usually means there is an opportunity for everyone's ideas and suggestions to be considered. Democratic management is often seen as a happy midway point between Autocratic and Laissez Faire.

When does it work well?


Democratic management works well in many scenarios. It gives employees a chance to share and have their views and ideas listened to. This improves engagement and morale.

Depending on the work your team are doing or the industry you work in, democratic may not be suitable. For example, if quick decisions are needed, democratic may not be the most efficient approach.

Laissez-Faire - self-organised

Laissez-Faire

AKA Free Rein


Coming from the French term meaning “let do”, Laissez-Faire is a style that enables employees to manage their time and tasks with little interference in day to day matters from management.

When does it work well?


Laissez-faire works really well when you have a team of self-starting employees who are strong communicators. Without the motivation to achieve and the ability to communicate clearly, laissez-faire can lead to confusion and unproductivity.

Other Management Styles


To learn a little more about other styles of management, we recommend Glynnis Purcell’s excellent article, The Top 7 Management Styles.

In this article, she makes some great points about the value of a manager and the importance of the right management style. She also evaluates many different styles including visionary, transactional, servant leadership, and pace-setting.

What is your management style?


Did you see yourself in the brief summaries of each main style above? Or perhaps a little of yourself in each style?

Discovering your own style is extremely important for anyone who leads or manages others. Management is a challenging role, and one that can create more problems than it solves if the manager doesn’t understand their strengths and style.

On all of our management courses, we begin by looking at the role of a manager, then delving into the different styles you’ll encounter. We also look at discovering and evaluating your own style as we believe this is the solid foundation on which great managers are built.

Your Style and Your Team

How your management style impacts your team


When evaluating your management style, it’s important to ask yourself 2 questions:

  • What suits you?
  • What suits your team?

As you may have noticed from reading the styles above, it’s not always a simple matter of slotting into one particular style or other.

Every manager is unique, just as every person is unique. As such, it can often be a case of creating your own style using elements from different styles.

We recommend doing this by looking at what works for you AND what works for your team.

Think about the individuals within your team and the team as a whole. Within one team you may have someone who thrives under a slightly more laissez-faire approach and others who require more guidance and structure.

You may also find that the democratic style resonates more with you, but that you need to alter it to make it work for your team.

How can you figure out a way to do this? Read on…

Perfecting your management style


Here is our recommended approach for perfecting your management style:

number 1

Track your working week


This could be a longer tracking period, but one working week is a great starting point. For one week, track what happens in your working life, perhaps using a journal or spreadsheet.

Notice what crops up, what works well, what challenges you most, and where you feel stuck. It’s important to include any relevant reactions from your team during this time – how they responded to different solutions, interactions, and challenges.
number 2

Learn about different styles


By attending training and reading articles like this, you’ll begin to build a reference guide to different leadership and management styles.

The more you know, the more you have to draw on.
number 3

Acquire a strong management toolkit


Possessing a varied set of management capabilities equips you with what you need to implement your style of management.

We find that participants on our management courses discover strengths they never knew they had and learn to handle areas that had previously been a struggle.

Use your gathered skills and information to create the approach that’s right for you.
Once you have completed the steps above, you’ll have the skills and information you need to create your own management style and plan how you will implement it.

Take Action Today


Begin Tracking Now


Wherever you are in your working week, begin tracking right now. Choose whatever medium works best for you and get started. Don’t overthink it, just begin logging what’s happening in your environment.

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